Between Power and Beauty: Preliminary Reflections on Egyptian Karate Communities
|Starts:||18:00 27 Apr 2015|
|Ends:||19:00 27 Apr 2015|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
The history of karate in Egypt is not long, and yet it has established firm roots in youth culture. Karate is the second most popular sport in Egypt after football. This paper explores the popularity of karate as a cultural practice of the urban middle class in which they experiment on a variety of ways to be “modern”. Karate is a unique sport. One’s strength is evaluated by the potential of destroying the adversary. Many players assert that karate is difficult because controlling one’s force shortly before touching the adversary’s flesh is technically more advanced and require more strength than actually hitting or kicking the target. In other words, during the match, whether kata (pattern) or kumite (sparring), the players are performing the powerful within the established framework of aesthetics.
Hatsuki Aishima is a social anthropologist of Islam and the Middle East. Her forthcoming monograph, Islam and Public Culture in Modern Egypt: Media, Intellectuals and Society, explores Islamic learning as the middle classes’ aspiration for “culture”. Since 2012 she has been working on a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists project, A Socio-anthropological Study of Karate as an Alternative Modernity in Contemporary Egypt.
Organisation: University of Manchester
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